What is Friendship?

I’m learning a lot about friendship these days…..these past few months for sure……
I have learned, and AM learning the value of people who can walk with you on the path of your life, whether it be full of joy or pain; of silliness or despair.

Friends are people who can be accepting and non-judgemental and who give without expectation of receiving.

I call these people the True Blue Friends. The ones who don’t walk away when you’re suffering, and don’t cling when they need something from you. They are there when you’re on top – and don’t make you feel guilty because you have something they don’t. They are the ones who watch you when you fall and lose, and help you to regain your strength, courage and sense of self in order to be in a good place again.

True Blue Friends don’t have to correct you every time you make a mistake or flub a word, but they do call you on your BS.

True Blue Friends are those who say “I am here for you”, and “I love you”, and who do not make excuses for why they cannot get together with you. They just make getting together happen!

True Blue Friends are not afraid to show their vulnerabilities, and they will hug you for no reason other than to hug, because it FEELS REALLY NICE TO BE HUGGED!

True Blue Friends are those who offer sincere and loving thoughts, without expectation of reciprocation.

Thank you True Blue Friends!

And now……for some really profound words by David Whyte…..

I love the form and flow of David Whyte’s poetry, and of the way he is able to provide such depth and insight into words. In this book – Consolations –  he provides meaning to a concept; a feeling; a way of being that can be nebulous and abstract.

I have been reading and re-reading this book for months, and today would like to share his words about Friendship.

FRIENDSHIP…..

is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn.

A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.

In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.

Through the eyes of a real friendship an individual is larger than their everyday actions, and through the eyes of another we receive a greater sense of our own personhood, one we can aspire to, the one in whom they have most faith. Friendship is a moving frontier of understanding not only of the self and the other but also, of a possible and as yet unlived, future.

Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honourable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence.

Through the eyes of a friend we especially learn to remain at least a little interesting to others. When we flatten our personalities and lose our curiosity in the life of the world or of another, friendship loses spirit and animation; boredom is the second great killer of friendship. Through the natural surprises of a relationship held through the passage of years we recognize the greater surprising circles of which we are a part and the faithfulness that leads to a wider sense of revelation independent of HUMAN relationship: to learn to be friends with the earth and the sky, with the horizon and with the seasons, even with the disappearances of winter and in that faithfulness, take the difficult path of becoming a good friend to our own going.

Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been SEEN by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

From: Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte

 

 

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